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Premarital Agreements: Language Means Everything
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Premarital property agreements are excellent legal tools that can help men and women enter marriage with peace of mind that their children from previous relationships or assets will be protected should things not work out down the road. These documents, however, do require careful consideration to make certain intent is adhered to should the need to exercise the provisions arise. The language used when drafting an agreement is tremendously important in that it will ultimately guide a judge in making decisions about how to proceed in determining a division of assets, if any at all.
A recent case in Texas sheds light on the importance of the words selected for such a document. It also points out the need for both parties to fully understand the gravity of the words selected. The case involved a man and woman whose premarital agreement provided that the husband pay the wife a financial settlement in the event of divorce. The issue that arose, however, involved a misinterpretation of the time period during which the husband’s assets should be calculated for such a payment. The husband believed the date assets should be measured was the final divorce date. The wife argued the agreement stipulated the measurement of liquid net worth should date back to the filing for divorce. In reading the agreement, the judge ruled in favor of the wife with the husband ultimately pay based upon the filing date.
Considering the gravity of premarital agreements and other legal tools meant to safeguard both parties, it is important for couples considering such an arrangement to seek experienced counsel when drawing up such a document. Family lawyers with experience in premarital agreements are strongly urged for both parties. In addition to providing the language that will govern division of property and liquid wealth, family lawyers can help ensure both parties fully understand the terms, stipulations and ramifications of such a document before it is signed.
While not every couple that gets married may want or need a premarital agreement, many do. These documents can be very useful for helping protect assets, such as inheritances, in the event of divorce. Some couples may use these tools to protect assets set aside for children from previous relationships, as well. In the aforementioned case, the document spelled out a financial settlement to ensure the wife’s well-being following a divorce. Whatever the reason for considering such an agreement, it is vital that precise language be used and that both parties fully understand the scope of the document. Family lawyers can help ensure the creation of a fair and equitable agreement that serves both parties well.
Nunneley Family Law has been helping families in the Fort Worth and Mid-Cities area resolve complicated family law issues for over 35 years. Their team of professionals provides the clarity and focus you need to break through the turmoil and reach equitable and fair closure.
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